How to Honour the Lord
How to Honour the Lord
One billion people watched the rescue. On 13 October 2010 at 10pm (GMT) Jose Henriquez Gonzalez emerged from 2,300ft underground after being trapped for sixty-nine days when the San Jose mine collapsed in northern Chile.
It was originally thought that no one had survived the collapse, or that the thirty-three trapped underground would starve to death before they were found.
Many of them had been atheists, agnostics, un-believers or semi-believers. Jose Henriquez Gonzalez was known as the ‘evangelist’ because he led so many of the others to faith in Jesus Christ. He formed and led a prayer group. With thirty-three tiny Bibles sent down by friends, he led devotions twice a day.
They testified to the presence of a thirty-fourth person. Nineteen-year-old miner, Jimmy Sanchez, said, ‘There are actually thirty-four of us, because God has never left us down here.’ Jesus was there with them. When they emerged out of the mine the rescued men were all wearing similar t-shirts. The shirts said on the front, ‘Thank you, Lord’, and on the back it said, ‘To him be the glory and honour’.
I had the privilege of interviewing Jose Henriquez at HTB. ‘The true hero is Jesus Christ,’ he said. ‘He is the only hero that should be mentioned. Apart from what man may have done both inside and outside that mine, he is the one who deserves the honour and the glory.’
Jesus taught us to pray that God’s name should be honoured (Matthew 6:9). My greatest fear is that I might do or say something that will bring dishonour to his name. My deepest longing is to see the name of the Lord honoured again in our society.
How should you act in order to see his name honoured?
Stir up good, not evilProverbs 30:24–33
Our whole lives should be devoted to exalting the name of Jesus and not ourselves. The writer of Proverbs says, ‘If you have played the fool and exalted yourself, or if you have planned evil, clap your hand over your mouth! For as churning the milk produces butter, and as twisting the nose produces blood, so stirring up anger produces strife’ (vv.32–33). We call people ‘stirrers’ if they stir up arguments, conflict and anger.
The opposite is stirring up good things. Seek to be someone who never stirs up anger but, rather, good. Never seek to exalt yourself, but only Jesus. Always seek to honour the name of the Lord.
‘Stir up, O Lord, the wills of your faithful people, that they, bringing forth the fruit of good works, may by you be richly rewarded: through Jesus Christ our Lord’ (Anglican Collect for the last Sunday before Advent).
Speak the message of JesusRevelation 9:13–10:11
You honour the name of Jesus when you tell the world about him. Not everyone will be interested, but some will. To those who believe, the message will be ‘sweet as honey’ (10:9), and their lives will be transformed by Jesus.
The terrible warnings of judgment continued with the sixth angel sounding his trumpet. There was horrible warfare (‘The number of the mounted troops was two hundred million’, 9:16), violent death and injury.
The twentieth century was probably the most violent in history and the first in which those kinds of numbers were involved in warfare. Yet, there has been little repentance.
‘The remaining men and women who weren’t killed by these weapons went on their merry way – didn’t change their way of life… There wasn’t a sign of a change of heart. They plunged right on in their murderous, occult, promiscuous, and thieving ways’ (vv.20–21, MSG). You only have to watch the news to see that these words are also being fulfilled in our time.
Then John saw ‘another mighty angel coming down from heaven’ (10:1). This sounds like Jesus Christ himself. He is robed in a cloud, which symbolises the presence of God. There is a rainbow above his head symbolising the promise of God. ‘His face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars’ (v.1). This is very similar to the description of Jesus in the first chapter of Revelation (1:12–16).
‘He gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion’ (10:3) – Jesus is ‘the Lion of the tribe of Judah’ (5:5). (In our passage for today from Proverbs, the lion is described as ‘king of the beasts, deferring to none’, Proverbs 30:30, MSG).
Jesus gave the little scroll to John and told him to take it and eat it: ‘It will turn your stomach sour, but in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey’ (Revelation 10:9). The message of the gospel will have a sour taste for some who reject it, but to all who accept it, it is ‘as sweet as honey’ (v.9).
Then, John was told to take this message out: ‘Then I was told, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings”’ (v.11).
Lord, in the midst of all the troubles around us, help us to proclaim the gospel faithfully and to see the name of Jesus honoured again.
Sacrifice for the Lord’s honourEzra 2:68–4:5
We should not expect a trouble-free life. Jesus warned us that in this life we would experience trouble (John 16:33). Faith does not keep you from trouble but it helps you get through trouble. Don’t focus on your troubles but focus on the one who carries you through them, and be willing to sacrifice in order to bring honour to his name.
The people of God had been longing to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. God’s name was dishonoured when the temple was destroyed by the Babylonians. Now it was their opportunity to rebuild and see God’s name honoured again.
They appointed Levites twenty years old and older to supervise the building of the house of the Lord (Ezra 3:8) – a good example of appointing young leaders. They were willing to sacrifice their money and possessions. According to their ability they gave to the treasury for this work 61,000 drachmas of gold, 5,000 minas of silver and 100 priestly garments’ (Ezra 2:68–69).
Giving is an essential part of your worship and service to God. Your gifts should not be grudging or forced, but generous ‘freewill offerings’. Do not compare your giving to that of others, but give what you can afford. The wonderful thing about this offering was that as each gave according to their ability, they raised all the money that was needed.
If everyone in the church gives sacrificially, generously, each according to their ability, God’s kingdom will advance rapidly and his name will be honoured.
In spite of all the opposition around (‘despite their fear of the peoples around them’, 3:3a), they began to worship the Lord again and offer him sacrifices. Today, worship God by offering him your body as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:2) – that is, offer everything you have, and everything you are, to be used to bring honour to his name.
They did not wait for the temple to be completed before they began their worship. As soon as the foundations were laid, ‘with praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord: “He is good; his love to Israel endures forever.” And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid’ (Ezra 3:11).
Exuberant worship is not only a contemporary phenomenon! ‘The people made so much noise. And the sound was heard far away’ (vv.12b–13). And yet, while many shouted for joy, the older members of the community ‘wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid’ (v.12a).
This was possibly because the stones used were smaller than for the original temple and it was not as grand. It is a reminder that this temple was not the answer but only a foreshadowing of the temple of the Holy Spirit – the people of God, with Jesus as the chief cornerstone (Ephesians 2:19–22).
The building of the temple was not unopposed: ‘… the peoples around them set out to discourage the people of Judah and make them afraid to go on building. They hired counsellors to work against them and frustrate their plans during the entire reign of Cyrus king of Persia and down to the reign of Darius king of Persia’ (Ezra 4:4–5).
When you set out to bring honour to the Lord, you may be opposed. Whether it is the rebuilding of churches today, or any other work of the kingdom of God, there is bound to be opposition. The opposition succeeded in delaying them, but not defeating them altogether.
Lord, may the temple of your Holy Spirit, the church – the people of God – be rebuilt in our generation. May we see the church buildings that are empty and derelict today filled again with people worshipping you. May your name be honoured again in our generation.
‘Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs like fiery pillars… He planted his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, and he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion…’
We may feel as if the world is out of control, but our God is an all-powerful God.
Verse of the Day
‘… as churning the milk produces butter, and as twisting the nose produces blood, so stirring up anger produces strife’ (Proverbs 30:33).
Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version Anglicised, Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 Biblica, formerly International Bible Society. Used by permission of Hodder & Stoughton Publishers, an Hachette UK company. All rights reserved. ‘NIV’ is a registered trademark of Biblica. UK trademark number 1448790.
Scripture marked (MSG) taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.